The Purpose & How It Started

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Reggae Renaissance Artist Stuart Wilson

If I remember right it was the summer of 2000. I still lived in my home town of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. At the time I was the singer of a local band. Like any young musician I dreamed of being a Reggae star but the reality was that there was no industry in my country at the time.

As beautiful as Grand Cayman is, it is mostly known for its banking industry and growing up, the arts and artists were not encouraged to pursue such endeavors so finding band mates was not an easy task.

Musicians in short supply, I found myself in the center of a non-existant music scene made up of guys that were for the most part, much older than I was. This meant that I often volunteered as a roadie, driver, or whatever else anyone needed. Truthfully I just wanted to hang out. I wanted to be in the clubs, hang out with Rastas that were more or less stars in my eyes, and just soak up the real world of music. I looked up to these guys and I felt indescribably cool just to be hanging out with them.

On one of these excursions I was hanging out backstage for the Battle of the Bands and waiting for my turn to help load gear up onto the stage. I wasn’t playing or anything. I was just there so the drummer of one of the bands could look famous enough to have some kid carry his gear. I was totally cool with that.

Reggae Legend Maxi Priest happened to be the headlining act that night and had just finished up his set and I was sitting on the tailgate of a friends truck when he happened to drive by, exiting the venue. As he drove past me sitting there he waved before disappearing into a cloud of dust and break lights.

Truth be told, I was not the world’s biggest Maxi fan at the time. But isolated as I was as a teenager in Grand Cayman, that was the first real Reggae Star I had ever seen. And he had just waived hello at me. I kept my excitement to myself (already well versed in the too-cool-for-school facade), and just took the whole thing in.

I can remember sitting there in the backstage “musicians only” parking lot with my guitar, and a joint in my hand. I had seen behind the curtain of Reggae. I realized that night that I was absolutely going to do music for the rest of my life.

Fast forward two decades, several tours, and thousands other musical experiences along the way and it’s still that feeling that I crave when I think about my life and career as a musician.

To some extent nearly anyone can make music these days. But when it comes to BEING a musician, it’s a calling one has to answer. It’s the familiar smell of herb in the studio. It’s the feeling of joy you feel as you arrive in the next city on your list of tour dates. It’s the familiar weight of your guitar case in your hand. It’s the camaraderie you feel with your band mates and the vibe of knowing that you are contributing something positive.

But perhaps even more importantly than all of that, is YOU, the listener, that makes all of it matter.

I look forward to many more mystical and amazing experiences along this musical journey and hope that you will continue to be a part of that journey.

If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey,click here to listen to my most recent album, ‘Reggae Renaissance’.

Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.

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